Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Master Collection in Review

August 30, 2011 2:56 am

Tags: Adobe, CS5, CS5.5, Flash, Illustrator, Photoshop

Product Review: Adobe's Creative Suite 5.5 Master Collection

file_472395.jpgMobile devices have gone global. The accessibility of cell phones, including "smart phones," are available even in the poorest countries. The number of tablets and laptops are also growing exponentially. While other companies strive to play catch-up, with the release of Adobe's Creative Suite 5.5 Master Collection, once more Adobe continues to be a consistent leader in the Mobile Revolution.

Adobe's motto could easily be, "Join us or be left behind." In our ever-changing, instant gratification, on-the-move society, Adobe instinctively anticipates the needs of its designers, artists, and developers; bringing them the tools that they need to succeed in this increasingly fast-paced world.

At first glance, the Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Master Collection may appear to be a mere interim improvement, until the big changes of CS6 come along. However, the additions to this new Master Suite edition are vital, especially to those needing to keep up with the influx as well as the variations of the mobile device explosion.

Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Master Collection is available in both Mac and PC platforms. Due to the abundance of new content within the Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Master Collection, for this review I have highlighted only a few of the many new features and/or enhancements. To delve completely into each program within the suite, be sure to visit the Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Master Collection official site.

Adobe Dreamweaver CS5.5
One of my favorite new Adobe Dreamweaver CS5.5 features, are the enhanced multi-screen preview panels, which allow designers to view their website creations on three fixed screen sizes. The innovation is the ability for designers to also customize the sizes of each of the three preview panels. This option gives the designer the opportunity to view their creations on an infinite number of mobile devices. As more mobile devices become available, this feature is especially invaluable with the ever-changing variety of different sized mobile device screens; with their interchangeable horizontal and vertical screens.

Changing sizes within the Preview Panels in Adobe Dreamweaver CS5.5

Robust JQuery support is another "can't live without" feature when it comes to designing for mobile devices. The new built-in templates take the head-aches out of creating web content that will be viewed on mobile devices. Inserting mobile compatible objects is as easy as choosing items from the jQuery Mobile panel.

(My full review of Adobe Dreamweaver CS5.5 will be published in a future edition of Renderosity's CG Industry News.)

Adobe Flash Professional CS5.5

With Adobe Flash Professional CS5.5, this once again proves that Adobe is all about the ease of creating content for mobile devices. Improved workflow is an essential part of this new generation of Adobe's Master Collection. Sharing code across device platforms, as well as testing and exporting has been simplified.

With the growth of mobile devices, content scaling has never been more important. The new resize content feature, within document settings, allows you to automatically resize your design for different mobile display screens.

The enhanced layer control allows you to copy your files and still maintain your document's original structure from one mobile device to another. Having the option to improve the performance for mobile devices is another important function found within Adobe Flash Professional CS5.5.

Flash Builder 4.5 Premium

As with many of Adobe's upgrades to the software included in their Creative Suite 5.5 Master Collection, the new features and functions within Flash Builder 4.5 are mobile device related. The biggest advancement is the mobile app development over multiple platforms, including Android, BlackBerry and Apple's iOS. Not only can you develop, but you can now test a variety of apps on a variety of mobile devices.

Adobe Flash Catalyst CS5.5

The ability to create "resizable" applications is essential for designing for mobile devices. You can now also create Adobe Flash Builder compatible projects within Adobe Flash Catalyst. The Common Panel has new sets of tools to ease the transition of designing and developing. With the new Align Panel you can both align and distribute objects, as well as lock objects to a specific design location.

Adobe Device Central CS5.5

If you design for mobile devices, Adobe Device Central CS 5.5 keeps you informed of the latest and greatest device profiles through the constantly updated online device library. You can also test and then preview your designs on the newest versions of Adobe Flash Player.

Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5

The enhancements to Adobe Premiere ProCS5.5 provides an ultra-efficient workflow for videos for use in mobile devices … using shortcuts makes working with editing tools a real timesaver. Also, advancements in the Mercury Playback Engine allows for faster playback of even native files.

Special note: If you are a Windows user, Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5 and Adobe After Effects CS5.5 will only run on a 64-bit edition of Windows Vista or Windows 7. If you have a 32-bit system, or even if you have a 64-bit version of XP, you cannot run either Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5 or Adobe After Effects CS5.5 on your system. However, if you are still using XP as your OS, or if you are not ready to upgrade to a 64-bit system, the Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Master Collection includes 32-bit versions of Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 and After Effects CS4.

For additional features, read the full review of Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5, by Sergio Rosa, in a previous edition of Renderosity's CG Industry News.

Adobe After Effects CS5.5

My favorite feature in After Effects CS5.5 is the Warp Stabilizer Effect. This seemingly small advancement easily solves a problem that has hounded novice and professional videographers for ages … the dreaded camera-shake coming from handheld cameras. Almost like magic, in post-production, the Warp Stabilizer smoothes an unusable scene in a matter of minutes.

Adobe After Effects CS5.5 also features a Camera Lens Blur Effect, additional 3D features, and improved overall performance. For additional features, read the full review of Adobe After Effects CS5.5, by Sergio Rosa, in a previous edition of Renderosity's CG Industry News.

Adobe Audition CS5.5

In movie production, audio is equally important as visuals to a professional production. Adobe Audition CS5.5 brings the quality of sound production to a new level.

Although Adobe Audition CS5.5 replaces Audition 3 and Soundbooth CS5, it is a completely new product, and not a mere upgrade from Audition 3. This powerful program is packed with a new generation of sound technology. Although geared toward the audio professional, its interface is user-friendly for even novices to reap advanced audio in their videos.

For additional features, read the full review of Adobe Audition CS5.5, by Ricky Grove, in a previous edition of Renderosity's CG Industry News.

Adobe Media Encoder CS5.5

Opening Adobe Media Encoder CS5.5 for the first time, you will immediately notice the newly redesigned User Interface, making it easier to find and use your favorite features. You'll also find major improvement to the presets, including many new presets for mobile devices, such as the iPhone and iPad. The functionality of the Watch Folder has also gone through improved changes. You can now create one Watch Folder that produces operatives over multiple files.

Adobe Acrobat X Pro

So, what makes the Acrobat X [pronounced ten, not X] Pro edition superior to former Acrobat editions? The most notable difference is the new and improved User Interface. The UI not only provides a cleaner workspace, but also integrates similar functions, such as panels/panes, which have become a vital part of the majority of Adobe's products.

Adobe's Acrobat X Pro’s new User Interface

Familiarity equals user-friendliness, which equals productivity, which, in turn, removes frustration from the learning curve. For additional features, read my full review of Acrobat X Pro (and the Acrobat X Suite) published in a previous edition of Renderosity's CG Industry News.

Adobe InDesign CS5.5

As a designer and publisher, I am always excited when Adobe announces an upgrade to Adobe InDesign. With the innovative features in this new edition, Adobe InDesign CS5.5 is no longer a publisher's best friend; it has been promoted to the BFF (Best Friends Forever) category.

Anyone who has come from a traditional publishing background knows the complications of converting a printed publication (be it book or magazine) into a professional e-book format. All I can say is, "Thank you Adobe," for coming to the rescue. The advancements … in features and functions to create, edit, and publish e-related material … is a blessing to all previously "print-oriented" designers and publishers.

Adobe InDesign CS5.5 has brought "design continuity" to magazines and books that were originally designed as static print sources. This is no easy feat, especially with the infinite variety of widths and heights of mobile device screens. Adobe InDesign CS5.5 even solves the designer's nightmare of creating content that can be viewed both vertically and horizontally on the same mobile device.

Working hand-in-hand with the new Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, you can now upload your Adobe InDesign CS5.5 publication creations into Adobe Digital Publishing Suite … directly from within Adobe InDesign CS5.5.

(My full review of Adobe InDesign CS5.5 will be published in a future edition of Renderosity's CG Industry News.)

Adobe Photoshop CS5.1 Extended

Although Adobe Photoshop is under the CS5 family, it is still an important part of the mobile device movement. Adobe Photoshop Touch SDK is the gateway between Adobe Photoshop on your computer and all your Adobe Photoshop mobile device apps.

Connecting to your mobile device is made easy with Adobe Photoshop CS5.1 Extended

Among the many functions of this often overlooked CS5 and CS5.1 feature, is that it allows you to further tweak your limited Adobe Photoshop mobile app creations on your computer, utilizing your fully functional Adobe Photoshop software.

Adobe is constantly working on new apps to add to its mobile device arsenal. Currently, the most popular Adobe Photoshop apps are: Adobe Color Lava, Adobe Eazel, Adobe Nav, and Adobe Ideas (Adobe Ideas is supported by both Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator). For additional features of Adobe Ideas read my review in a previously publish edition of Renderosity's CG Industry News.

Should You Upgrade?

To upgrade or not to upgrade, that is the question that everyone contemplates when Adobe makes the announcement of a new and improved edition. If you own the Adobe Master Suite CS4 (or an earlier version of an Adobe Master Suite), upgrading to the Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Master Collection is a must. After all, if you have invested in a previous edition of an Adobe Master Suite, you are dedicated to designing, creating, implementing, and deploying content for the masses.

For those of you who have recently purchased Adobe Creative Suite 5 Master Collection, I would still recommend upgrading to CS5.5. Especially if you are developing and designing for mobile devices … and if and you are not currently creating for mobile devices … you will be.

In this fast-passed world, if you do not keep up with the latest and greatest, you will fall behind. For those who are waiting for the next upgrade … playing catch-up is both exhausting and can result in loss of profit. With its major overhaul in regards to designing, creating, implementing, and deploying content for mobile devices, Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Master Collection is an investment in your future!

Inside the Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Master Collection:

  • Adobe InDesign CS5.5
  • Adobe Dreamweaver CS5.5
  • Adobe Flash Catalyst CS5.5
  • Adobe Flash Professional CS5.5
  • Adobe Flash Builder 4.5 Premium
  • Adobe Fireworks CS5.1
  • Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5
  • Adobe After Effects CS5.5
  • Adobe AuditionCS5.5
  • Adobe Device Central CS5.5
  • Adobe Media Encoder CS5.5
  • Adobe OnLocation CS5.1
  • Adobe Encore CS5.1
  • Adobe Contribute CS5.1
  • Adobe Photoshop CS5.1 Extended
  • Adobe Illustrator CS5.1
  • Adobe Bridge CS5.1
  • Adobe® Extension Manager
  • Adobe Acrobat X Professional

Also: the Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Master Collection integrates with Adobe CS Live online services (Adobe CS Live services are complimentary for a limited time and include Adobe BrowserLab, Adobe CS Review,, Adobe Story and SiteCatalyst NetAverages).

Something Old, Something New

As always, prices for the Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Master Collection vary, depending if you are a first-time buyer, or if you are upgrading from a previous edition. Something new: Adobe is now offering a yearly and a month-to-month subscription of its Creative Suite 5.5 Master Collection edition. As well as a 30-day limited trial version. See Adobe's pricing guide for a full price list.

  • This Master Suite is a powerhouse, so be sure to check out the Tech Specs

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August 29, 2011

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Article Comments

Inspired_Art ( posted at 8:07PM Tue, 30 August 2011

I hope that Adobe comes up with a version that is non-subscription based. That's just ridiculous to have to pay for a month-to-month use of a package which a consumer has just paid $$$$ for.

deemarie ( posted at 7:09AM Wed, 31 August 2011

Hi Inspired_Art Adobe still offers the Creative Suite 5.5 Master Collection as a non-subscription software package; in either a boxed DVD version or a direct download (check out the pricing guide in my review for pricing information) The subscription is a new service, intended for individuals or companies who may only need the Adobe software for a specific project. Or for those who are just getting started.

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